The Young-Cupery family installed solar in Shorewood, WI through MREA’s group buy there in 2015.

With full support of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, UW Extension, and Sustain Iowa County, the MREA is hosting a solar group buy in Iowa County, Wisconsin. The advantage of a group buy is the power of volume purchasing, which can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing solar on your home or business. The group buy is open to all Iowa County residents and commercial property owners. 

Dozens of solar group buys have been completed across the country in cities like Portland, Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago, and in states from California to Vermont. Among all of them, there have been some common elements that led to success: competitive contractor selection, community-led outreach with a trusted community partner, and a limited-time offering.

Competitive Contractor Selection: Solar Iowa County’s advisory committee is comprised of representatives from the MREA, Driftless Area Land Conservancy, UW Extension, and Sustain Iowa County. They issued a competitive Request for Proposals and selected a single installer to help carry out the program. This way customers get the simplicity of a single installer, plus the confidence that the selection was made from a number of competitive choices.

Community-Led Outreach: The program would not be possible without the strong support of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, UW Extension, and Sustain Iowa County and other local organizations. Are you part of a neighborhood association, nonprofit organization, school, or workplace that is excited about solar? Help us get the word out by distributing flyers or hosting a Solar Power Hour! Email to get started.

Limited-time Offering: Nothing motivates people like a deadline. The time-sensitive nature of the group buy adds urgency into the mix, and helps bring the price down for everyone. How? Read on.

PRICING

The key ingredient for most participants is the pricing for the group buy. The competitive bidding process ensures the program achieves a price per watt lower than any individual would generally be able to get on the market. In addition, the price comes down for everyone when certain benchmarks are surpassed.

How is a solar installer able to offer such low prices through the program? There are two important factors: strong customer education and an economy of scale. 

Strong Customer Education: Crucial to the success of the program is the community outreach and education we do. The MREA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that does training and education around renewable energy, works with local organizations to schedule and facilitate a number of 1-hour-long Solar Power Hours around the community. These events help interested home and business owners determine whether solar is right for them. We’ll go over the basics of solar, market trends, financials, how to tell if your site is ready for solar, and how to participate in Solar Iowa County. Getting well-informed participants to the table saves the installer hours and hours of marketing and education they would otherwise have to do themselves, and in turn saves you money.

Economy of Scale: Just like in a buyers club or co-op, the more people participate, the lower the cost is for the service provider (in this case, a solar installer), and the lower the prices are for participants. Your participation matters, and it always helps when folks talk to their friends and neighbors about the group buy.

ABOUT THE INSTALLER

Eagle Point Solar was founded in 2010 with an unwavering focus on quality, professionalism, and service.  They have become one of the leading solar installers in the Midwest with over 375 completed systems in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin with installations exceeding 8.5 Megawatts.

Eagle Point Solar has a turnkey business approach to building solar arrays.  They coordinate everything from the initial consultation, engineered designs, electrical drawings, all permitting, all utility paperwork, and installation of the solar arrays.  Eagle Point Solar employees complete these services, not subcontractors.  This gives them the ability to handle large volumes of solar leads and build over 100 projects on an annual basis.

WHAT NEXT?

Now that you’ve become familiar with how the program works, the next step is to become informed about purchasing solar. Click here to view the schedule for our upcoming Solar Power Hours and updates about the program. We’re excited to meet you and get started!